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Fundamental Physics Experiments

Fundamental Physics Experiments can be organized in four "campaigns" that define sets of focused investigations. They are:


Gravitational Wave Gravitational and Relativistic Physics (GRP):

Experiments will explore how gravity influences the way the Universe looks and behaves. The experiments will contribute to a deeper understanding of the beginning, development, and fate of the universe, and may even discover long-range forces beyond those currently known. GRP experiments might also lead to the long-sought unification of physical laws, revealing a powerful order at the heart of the Universe.



LCAP-example-image Laser Cooling and Atomic Physics (LCAP):

Our ability to understand and to manipulate nature depends on the precision of our measurements. Experiments in laser cooling and atomic physics will provide unprecedented accuracy, setting new world standards for use in testing physical theories and in computing, navigation, and communications here on Earth. Cooling atoms with lasers away from the Earth's gravity will also give scientists better opportunities to measure fundamental atomic forces and symmetries that may well hold clues to how things work at macroscopic levels as well.



LTCMP image Low Temperature and Condensed Matter Physics (LTCMP):

Experiments in this area can reveal how organizing principles result from basic laws. They will show how adding stress (i.e., heating or cooling) to uniform systems will produce variations in which identifiable patterns can emerge. Studying states of matter (e.g., solid, liquid, gas) and the transition from one phase to another will help us understand how similar changes might have occurred in the early Universe, as well as improve such human activities as weather modeling, metallurgy, and oil field recoveries.



BP image Biological Physics (BP): (under development)

Biological physics is the study of physical interactions in biology. How does the structure of a molecule influence where it can attach to more complex structures? How do biological systems move? What signals are passed between receptors and targets as they locate binding points? Can we form new devices from biological elements, taking advantage of the speed or signal exchanges that occur in these systems? Nature has many examples where biological systems convert energy from one form to another, say from chemical energy to mechanical energy. This sub-discipline will use the tools, ideas, and methods of physics to probe biological systems and will learn the physical laws that apply to these systems. The interface between physics and biology will provide models for developing sensors and other devices.


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